February 17, 2005

Aretakis sues Times Union

Albany Times Union

By MARK McGUIRE, Staff writer
First published: Thursday, February 17, 2005

The attorney representing alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese is suing the Times Union, charging libel and breach of contract.

John Aretakis maintains the newspaper has "in effect become an agent for the Roman Catholic Church and the numerous predators that work and have worked therein," according to the lawsuit he filed last Thursday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. He seeks unspecified damages.

"The Times Union has been covering clergy sexual abuse stories with what is believed to be a bias," Aretakis said Wednesday in a written response to questions from a Times Union reporter.

Times Union Editor Rex Smith declared "all claims are false."

"The lawsuit is absolutely baseless and a transparent attempt to harass and punish the Times Union for its reporting on Aretakis," Smith said.

Aretakis alleges in court papers the diocese and city officials conspired to cover up an alleged arrest of an unnamed Times Union editor in return for favorable coverage. The unnamed editor -- a "married male" later referred to as a "reporter" in the court document -- was said to have been caught having sexual contact with a male prostitute in Washington Park.

Posted by kshaw at February 17, 2005 07:00 AM